The University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL), chartered in 1869, is an educational institution of international stature. In fall 2010, for the seventh-straight year, UNL made U.S. News and World Report’s annual evaluation of America’s Best Colleges’ Top 50 list of Public National Universities.
With Perceptive Content, University of Nebraska (UNL) has experienced increased efficiency in student records and admissions, improved productivity and response times for staff on the road, perfected document workflows and improved student service.
Document Management, Records Management, Workflow & Process Management
In 2009, enrollment services administrators realized that the campus was running out of storage space for student records, and recognized the need to process an increasing number of applications without increasing staffing. UNL decided that enterprise content management (ECM) would help meet these challenges, and selected Perceptive Content from Lexmark.
The financial aid office at UNL already had a document imaging system, but it offered limited functionality and could not integrate with the department’s PeopleSoft student information system (SIS). In mid-2009, financial aid went live with Perceptive Content, which delivers more features and seamless integration.
“The integration between Perceptive Content and PeopleSoft enables the financial aid team to work more efficiently,” said Assistant Director of Operations Tabitha Kaiser.
Tabitha Kaiser Assistant Director of Operations, UNLNow we can answer a student’s question while they’re still on the phone, as all the information is instantly available. That enables us to better serve our students and applicants.
Once the financial aid office was up and running smoothly, UNL expanded its ECM project into the office of admissions in summer 2010.
“I didn’t go to a training class but was able to manage our Perceptive Content deployment in the office of admissions,” Kaiser said. “The technical documentation and online knowledgebase were very helpful, and the project management team from Lexmark did a great job.”
Previously, undergraduate admissions were sorted into piles when they arrived from the campus mail room and the work divided between admissions processors. Then, they set up profiles in the SIS and entered transcript information. Next, they had to re-file the admissions packets, a time-consuming and data entry-heavy process.
Today, applications are scanned into Perceptive Content, which automatically divides the workload and sends each application to a “holding” queue in Perceptive Workflow. The processor then accesses an application in his or her queue, enters data in the SIS and routes to a complete queue in Perceptive Content–skipping the filing process. “We save at least 30 seconds on every document with Perceptive Content, which amounts to 28 hours each week,” Kaiser said. “It has lived up to its billing of creating new efficiency, and enables us to keep up with more student applications without adding to our staff.” When relying on a paper-based process, only one person could view an applicant’s folder. With parallel routing in Perceptive Workflow and concurrent viewing, there is no need for anyone to wait to review an applicant’s packet. Perceptive Content has also increased productivity for staff members who spend time on the road.
Tabitha Kaiser Assistant Director of Operations, UNLWe save at least 30 seconds on every document with Perceptive Content, which amounts to 28 hours each week. It has lived up to its billing of creating new efficiency, and enables us to keep up with more student applications without adding to our staff.
“Perceptive Content enables a recruiter, admissions processor and student advisor to view the same student’s file simultaneously, which wasn’t possible before,” Kaiser said. “And with WebNow, our international recruiter can be reviewing applications over a secure connection while in China instead of waiting for paperwork to arrive.” Boosting student service Before, if a student called UNL’s admissions, student records or financial aid office, they could wait a long time while a staff member searched for their file to resolve the issue. The old process required academic advisors to wait until students were on campus to interact with their files. Now advisors have faster access to files, which enables them to be more proactive in meeting students’ needs. Kaiser has been impressed with how quickly staff members accepted the change to ECM. “Now we can answer a student’s question while they’re still on the phone, as all the information is instantly available,” Kaiser said. “That enables us to better serve our students and applicants.”
Optimizing workflow Another advantage was the stimulus Perceptive Content gave UNL to examine its processes in financial aid, admissions and student records. Before implementation, Kaiser and her colleagues mapped out each workflow and found what was working and what should be changed. This ensured UNL would get maximum benefits from electronic document capture, workflow and retrieval. “The process review we conducted has made our processes more intentional, and therefore more efficient,” she said. “We’re confident that we’ve eliminated unnecessary steps and are now sharing student information between offices more effectively.”
Improving information sharing and load balancing A further unexpected benefit that resulted from UNL’s project was improved reporting. With paper-based workflows, it was difficult to track documents and see how quickly each application was being processed. Processors worked through files at different speeds, but this was also difficult to quantify and to then assign new work to the faster team members. “Perceptive Content gives us the ability to track each application’s process and to give more work to people when they’re done with the files they’ve been assigned,” Kaiser said. “As well as keeping them engaged, we’re able to better motivate our team because we can see how many applications we still have to process and how close we are to our deadline.” UNL intends to examine the process and content management needs of other departments to see how Perceptive Content can be used across the campus. Kaiser is quick to endorse it to colleagues. “I’m glad we went with Perceptive Content because with it we’ve increased efficiency, information sharing and productivity,” she said. “I’d definitely recommend it, as it has done even more than we hoped.”